UNM proposes to build fence around entire campus for safety concerns

If you think getting into the University of New Mexico is easy now, that could soon change, and we’re not talking about admissions. UNM officials are considering putting up a fence around campus for better security.

“At night, I usually feel unsafe,” says Martina Gallegos.

“I definitely don’t come onto campus at night because you hear really horrible things happen to students at night,” says Alanie Rael.

Students at UNM can agree, safety is a problem on campus, especially being along the Central Corridor. “We’ll have people come up to you in the SUB just acting weird, asking you for money, or pester you,” says Gallegos.

UNM officials say these kinds of concerns have also been brought to them by parents, worried about the homeless around campus. “Almost everyday that I pass by one of the grassier areas on campus and there’s someone sleeping on it,” says Rael.

The university confirms that they hired a South Carolina security firm to conduct the Main Campus Perimeter Security Access Study. The study suggested UNM build an 8-10 foot tall iron fence to wrap around Lomas, Girard, Central, and University. It would cost $1.6 million.

Students, staff, and visitors would access the campus through one of the 25 entrances and exits. The study says they would be controlled by card reader, turnstiles, or swinging gates.

Some students believe this could be the answer to UNM’s safety problems. “It would be good idea, there are a lot of issues on campus. We get texts all the time from possible threats coming in and out of our school,” says Gallegos.

Others believe there needs to be another option. “I think a fence would mess up the dynamic that the UNM community and the Albuquerque community have as a whole, especially right here next to Nob Hill and in the heart of Albuquerque,” says Rael.

UNM has partially cut off public access before. Last summer, the Communication and Journalism Department installed a card reader to get into the building because they were tired of transients using the bathroom for hours at a time.

At the moment, there is no word on how seriously UNM officials are taking this idea.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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